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5 Types of Software Accountants Need to Know

The idea that accounting is all about math is one of the biggest and most prevalent myths about the industry. In the old days, accountants were thought of as little people in glasses who crunched numbers on an add machine. But today, accounting is largely based on computer skills. According to Chron Magazine, accounting jobs re expected to grow as much as 20 percent in the next decade. And accounting software programs are growing just as fast. From a basic knowledge of spreadsheets, accountants learn all kinds of software that can help them perform their long list of tasks

1. Commercial Accounting Software

The basic type of accounting software accountants use can handle small to mid-range businesses and can be customized for the company and industry’s specific needs. Usually, these programs include graphs to represent a company’s financial well-being and can be used in conjunction with spreadsheets. Larger businesses and corporations may have enterprise accounting software, which is the same only more complex and capable of higher-level functions like managing workflow and projects.

2. Custom Accounting Software

When a business can’t find accounting software on the market to meet its needs, it can end up creating a custom program. Accountants might even help contribute ideas and design to a company’s individual software, and they certainly need to know how to use it. While it’s hard to predict the various different reasons there would be a need for custom software, software consulting and custom accounting software design are now big online markets for businesses who can’t adapt existing programs to fit them.

3. Payroll Software

Companies usually use an outside program to help keep track of salaries and employee taxes, and to prepare paychecks. Every business has a need to make sure its employees are paid correctly and on time, and it’s also important to have a record of payroll history throughout the business year. This is one of an accountant’s chief functions, so they always need accurate and efficient software. Plus, analyzing how much cash is going to payroll is part of improving the company budget.

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4. Tax Preparation Software

These days, it’s easy for anyone to input their tax information into a computer program and find out how much you owe or how much you should expect back. The tax software you need for a business will often depend on the type of company. There are programs geared towards non-profits, small businesses, and larger corporations. If tax preparation is part of your job, tax software can eliminate human error and get the maximum refund possible as long as you can supply the receipts.

5. Word-Processing Software

Yes, accountants need to know how to draft word documents. Communication is a big part of the job that many people overlook, and accountants often make reports to management in the form of letters. They also communicate with vendors and clients about costs, budgets, and efficiency. The information an accountant gathers and reports in their graphs and spreadsheets is vital to every aspect of a company, and they often find themselves needing to explain complicated financial problems to departments that aren’t necessarily familiar with their work.

Being an accountant is about much more than numbers. A company’s finances are the glue that holds it together, and accurate accounting can keep businesses afloat in hard economic times. The right accounting software has become the cornerstone of the career, and computer skills will take the fledgling CPA on the right path to success.

Author Brett Harris is an avid blogger. If you’re looking into accounting as a career, check out online accounting degree.